What to do if you spot malpractice, something unethical or illegal
The RCVS can only help with matters concerning licensed veterinarians or vet nurses, so if you feel you need to report poor conduct by people who are not part of the veterinary profession, what can you do? The AUA spoke to the RCVS last week, and their advice is combined with ours and summarised below.
Reporting a scanner in your area
If you know that somebody is charging people for a scanning service without adequate training or equipment, or is not practicing within their remit (i.e. is offering diagnoses), you can report them to Trading Standards. Remembering that they may genuinely not realise that they’re using unsafe equipment or have not been adequately trained, you should also report the company that they have been trained by. Important points to include would be:
- What you have seen or heard that has caused you to be concerned, for example, you have performed several re-scans for clients of this individual due to the inadequacy of their service (and they’ve repeatedly got it wrong), or they have failed to refer to a veterinarian when unsure (such as in cases of potential pyometra).
- What equipment they are using and why it is not fit for professional use. If it is a ‘wand,’ for example, you will know from previous articles that it is not fit for purpose as a professional machine as it does not comply with EU or FDA rules on the display of ultrasonic outputs. This means that the operator has no way of knowing if they are scanning safely or not, so we can only assume that they either don’t care about ultrasonic safety, or have not received any training on it so are not aware of any potential risks. If you’re not sure about a specific make or model of machine, you can always ask us for advice – we have sonographers on our team who will know where most scanner models stand when it comes to safety and compliance, and are happy to back you up with a professional opinion.
Reporting a fertility clinic
An even more serious problem is lay people carrying out veterinary procedures, such as drawing blood for progesterone testing. Some even administer prescription medication without a prescription or veterinary supervision, such as hormone treatments (namely PG600). This is illegal, and if you are made aware of such practices, you must immediately contact:
- The local authority (e.g. Environmental Health) – if you are unsure who to contact, call the local council and ask.
- Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06.
- If it involves the illegal supply of medication, this needs to be reported to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. You can also report microchipping issues to the VMD.
Again, many of these people have been trained by one particular company. If you aware of who this is, you should report them as well. You can tell the organisation you report to if you would like your name to be kept off the report.
It can be daunting reporting to so many different authorities, so if you have been made aware of such practices near you and need help reporting them, please contact us.
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